Set Your Course – Gibraltar!

Queens Way Quay is a neat rectangular marina on the west side of Gibraltar in the shadow of the giant Rock. The east side of the Marina is home to the restrooms, laundry and a few restaurants and the rest of the rectangle is surrounded by condos and large homes. I sat on the fly bridge last night of my home away from home – a motor yacht owned by a retired British couple – and watched the sun set between the houses while the clouds that continually blow over the Rock from East to West curled up and over into the sunset creating large pink and orange swirls. Sometimes I feel like this is all a dream. How the hell did I get HERE?

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Queens Way Quay Marina

Last week I completed my Competent Crew course with Allabroad Sailing Academy. We had a full boat with two students doing Yacht Master, two Day Skippers, an instructor and me. Some of the highlights of the week included our instructor drilling us on ‘man overboard’ by throwing a fender in the ocean unexpectedly and each of us took turns at the helm attempting to retrieve our lost “crew member,” sailing Gibraltar harbor at night to study the light pattern each boat displays and how each buoy and marker flashes, sailing around the Rock and up the east coast to Duchess, Spain where our instructor took us to his favorite Tapas Bar and finally sailing with dolphins across the Straights of Gibraltar to the African continent.

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Our crew & instructor making funny faces.

We spotted their sleek gray forms often shouting and pointing “Dolphins!” Everyone would freeze and look in their direction. We saw huge schools, individuals and babies. We even saw large pods of energetic dolphins arcing up out of the water in front of fast-moving tankers. My favorite moment was when a small group swam in our bow wave for about 20 minutes. I fell in love. It was just as I imagined it would be. I stood on deck hanging over the pulpit watching each dolphin dance and weave and blow – catching their breath with each breach. It was magical, dreamy and fantastic!

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Sailing toward the African continent.

Moments like that make you stop and take stock of your life. They make you realize how joyous life can really be. Sailing on the ocean is peaceful and calm – as long as the weather is fair – the sun shines down on you, the wind is pushing you onward and then you get a quick glimpse of the divine. A moment that catches your breathe and makes you grin like a madman. A simple moment that catches you up in wonder and majesty and everything else just falls away.

I never imagined that I would be sailing to the African Continent. I never imagined that I would be doing sailing training to have this as a profession. I never imagined that I would travel to Gibraltar or Costa Rica or Belize or Croatia and yet I have. At some point in time I changed my course and set off for new horizons. Now it’s time to trim the sails and hold on tight – always scanning the horizon for the next big Adventure.

My wish for you is that your life has adventure, that you have someone special to love and that you are healthy and happy. Set your course and GO FOR IT!!!! Who knows where you will end up and what wonderful things you might see!!!

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Duchess, Spain

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